The 2019 Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera International Song Competition

2019 song competition maroon 528x400Dates

The Competition itself will take place from Saturday 7–Wednesday 11 September 2019 inclusive. Competitors will be expected to arrive in London no later than Friday 6 September and leave on Thursday 12 September 2019.


Singer / Voice / Pianist

Dominic Barberi (UK) / Bass

Harriet Burns (UK) / Soprano / Michael Pandya (UK)

Ronan Caillet (France) / Tenor / Malte Schäfer (Germany)

Kieran Carrel (UK/Germany) / Tenor / Richard Gowers (UK)

Rory Carver (UK) / Tenor / George Todică (Romania)

Guy Elliott (UK) / Tenor / Bradley Wood (New Zealand)

Kady Evanyshyn (Canada) / Mezzo-soprano / Seoyon MacDonald (USA / South Korea)

Rosina Fabius (Netherlands) / Mezzo-soprano

Laurence Kilsby (UK) / Tenor / Bradley Wood (New Zealand)

Georg Klimbacher (Austria) / Baritone / Mauro Zappalà (Italy)

Belinda Kunz (France) / Mezzo-soprano / Valentin Mansard (France)

Benjamin Lewis (UK) / Baritone / Tobias Kaltenbrunner (Austria)

Clara Osowski (USA) / Mezzo-soprano / Tyler Wottrich (USA)

Davidona Pittock (UK) / Soprano

Theodore Platt (UK) / Baritone / Dylan Perez (USA)

Emily Pogorelc (USA) / Soprano / Chris Reynolds (USA)

Tomi Punkeri (Finland) / Baritone

Kieran Rayner (New Zealand) / Baritone / Gamal Khamis (UK)

Benjamin Russell (Eire) / Baritone / Manon Fischer-Dieskau (UK)

Michael St Peter (USA) / Tenor / Jeremy Chan (Australia)

Jacquelyn Stucker (USA) / Soprano / James Hendry (UK)

Matthew Swensen (USA) / Tenor / Katelan Terrell (USA)

Dorota Szczepanska (Poland) / Soprano / Maria Yulin (Israel)

Beth Taylor (UK) / Mezzo-soprano / Hamish Brown (UK)

Mikhail Timoshenko (Russia) / Bass-baritone / Elitsa Desseva (Bulgaria)

Felicity Turner (UK) / Mezzo-soprano / Natalie Burch (UK)

Christian Wagner (Germany) / Baritone / Kunal Lahiry (USA)


John Gilhooly OBE

John Gilhooly, Artistic and Executive Director of Wigmore Hall / Chairman, Royal Philharmonic Society

songcomp2019 bio jury johngilhooly kaupokikkasJohn Gilhooly became Director of Wigmore Hall in 2005, making him, then, the youngest leader of any of the world’s great concert halls. He had been Executive Director of Wigmore Hall since December 2000 and has overseen the artistic, financial and administrative transformation of the Hall over the past 17 years. His tenure has produced record box office returns and the Hall’s highest ever membership levels and annual fundraising. As Artistic Director of Wigmore Hall, he programmes the largest chamber music and song series in the world, and he is noted for his commitment to outstanding emerging artists, diversity and contemporary music.

John Gilhooly has been honoured by heads of state and academic institutions. In 2013 he was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and in 2015 was made a Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland by the President of Finland. He has also received the prestigious Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, and the Order of the Star of Italy (Cavaliere), awarded by the President of Italy. In 2016 he was awarded the German Order of Merit, which is Germany’s highest civilian honour. He is a recipient of Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music (2006), Honorary Membership of the Royal College of Music (2012), Honorary Fellowship of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (2015), and Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Irish Academy of Music (2016). John Gilhooly is Patron of Leeds Lieder and Chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society.

John Mark Ainsley

John Mark Ainsley

songcomp2019 bio jury johnmarkainsleyJohn Mark Ainsley has appeared with the world’s leading orchestras, including the London, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco Symphony orchestras, the London, Berlin, Vienna, Rotterdam and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, and with conductors including Sir Colin Davis, Bernard Haitink, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Sir Roger Norrington, Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Solonen, Sir Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado.

In opera he has sung Don Ottavio Don Giovanni (Glyndebourne Festival, Aix-en-Provence Festival and Royal Opera, Covent Garden); the title role in Samson (Netherlands Opera); Grimoaldo Rodelinda (English National Opera); Jupiter Semele (San Francisco Opera); Bajazet Tamerlano and the title role in Idomeneo (Munich Festival); Captain Vere Billy Budd (Glyndebourne Festival); Henze’s L’Upupa (Salzburg Festival) and Phaedra (Berlin Festival); and Skuratov in Janacek’s From the House of the Dead at the Amsterdam, Vienna and Aix-en-Provence Festivals, La Scala Milan and Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin.

He has recorded extensively for Philips Classics, Decca, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon and Hyperion Records, covering the baroque and classical repertoire, German Lied, English song and American musicals. His recording of Vaughan Williams’ On Wenlock Edge with the Nash Ensemble was nominated for a Gramophone Award.

John Mark won the 2007 Royal Philharmonic Society Singer Award and is a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music. 

Iain Burnside

Iain Burnside

songcomp2019 bio jury iainburnside tallwallmediaIain Burnside is a pianist who has appeared in recital with many of the world’s leading singers, and as presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Voices he won a Sony Radio Award. Recent recordings include the Gramophone Award-winning NMC Songbook and complete Rachmaninov songs on Delphian.

His theatre piece A Soldier and a Maker, based on the life of Ivor Gurney, was performed at the Barbican Centre and the Cheltenham Festival, and later broadcast by BBC Radio 3 on Armistice Day. His new project Swansong has been premièred at the Kilkenny Festival.

This is the final instalment in a series of the three Schubert song cycles with Roderick Williams at Wigmore Hall. Forthcoming projects feature Ailish Tynan, Rosa Feola, Andrew Watts, Robin Tritschler and Benjamin Appl, and also a major series of Russian Song for Wigmore Hall.

Iain Burnside is Artistic Director of the Ludlow English Song Weekend and Artistic Consultant to Grange Park Opera.

Iain Burnside appears through arrangement with Askonas Holt

Bernarda Fink

Bernarda Fink

songcomp2019 bio jury bernardafink juliasweselyBernarda Fink, born in Buenos Aires to Slovene parents, received her musical education at the Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón.

As one of the most sought-after singers in concerts and recitals and much acclaimed for her musical versatility, she frequently performs alongside leading orchestras and conductors in Europe and America. With a  repertoire that ranges from ancient to contemporary music, she regularly appears with the Philharmonic Orchestras of London, Prague, Vienna and Berlin, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland- and Philadelphia Orchestras, and with the foremost Baroque orchestras under Blomstedt, Bychkov, Chailly, Davis, Gardiner, Gergiev, Harnoncourt, Jacobs, Jansons, Muti, Norrington, Pinnock, Prêtre, Rattle and Welser-Möst. Mrs. Fink is welcomed regularly in Argentina and at the main opera houses of Europe and often appears in recitals at the Wiener Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Concertgebouw and Wigmore Hall. Some of her nearly 50 recordings have been awarded coveted prizes (Diapason d’Or, Grammy).

In 2006, Bernarda Fink was awarded the Austrian Honorary Medal for Art and Science and in 2013, together with her brother Marcos Fink, the most prestigious cultural award of Slovenia sponsored by the Prešeren-foundation. In 2014 the Austrian Ministry of Arts awarded her with the title Austrian Kammersänger.

David Jackson

David Jackson

songcomp2019 bio jury davidjacksonDavid Jackson is Artistic Director of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, one of the most highly regarded classical singing competitions in the world. He has been a producer, executive producer and commissioner of television and radio for the BBC and the independent sector. His programmes have won many awards including a Primetime Emmy, BAFTAs, the Rose d’Or, SONY Awards, a number of Golden Prague and Vienna TV Awards and many nominations.

Posts include Head of Music at BBC Wales, Vice Principal at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Acting Director of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, and Managing Director of the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain.

In addition to his professional work David served for a number of years as a Trustee of the Wales Millennium Centre. He is a Trustee of chamber orchestra Sinfonia Cymru, sits on the Governors’ Music Committee of Wells Cathedral School, is a Governor of Ysgol y Deri Special School in Sully, and chairperson of the Forget-Me-Not Chorus for people with dementia and their carers. In October 2017 he became Chair of National Youth Arts Wales, the organisation responsible for the National Youth ensembles of Wales.

Graham Johnson OBE

Graham Johnson OBE

songcomp2019 bio jury grahamjohnson clivebardaGraham Johnson is Senior Professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He formed the Songmakers' Almanac in 1976, and has worked with Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Peter Pears, Sir Thomas Allen, Victoria de los Angeles, Ian Bostridge, Brigitte Fassbaender, Matthias Goerne, Thomas Hampson, Dame Felicity Lott, Simon Keenlyside, Angelika Kirchschlager, Philip Langridge, Christopher Maltman, Edith Mathis, Ann Murray, Lucia Popp, Christoph Prégardien, Dame Margaret Price, Thomas Quastoff, Dorothea Röschmann, Alice Coote, Christine Schaefer and Peter Schreier. His extensive discography includes the entire Schubert and Schumann Lieder for Hyperion Records.

He was made OBE in the 1994 Queen's Birthday Honours list, Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Government in 2002, and Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2010. He was awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal, Hugo Wolf Medal, and received Honorary Doctorates from Durham University, the New England Conservatory of Music and Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.

Dame Felicity Lott

Dame Felicity Lott

songcomp2019 bio jury felicitylott christinaraphaelleDame Felicity Lott is one of Britain's best-loved sopranos. She read French at Royal Holloway College, of which she is now an Honorary Fellow, and singing at the Royal Academy of Music, of which she is a Fellow and a Visiting Professor.

On the opera stage, her performances of the Strauss and Mozart roles in particular have led to critical and popular acclaim worldwide. She has sung with the world’s leading orchestras including the London, Vienna, Berlin, Munich and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, the Concertgebouworkest, the Deutsche Staatskapelle, the Cleveland, Suisse Romande and Tonhalle orchestras, as well as the Boston and BBC Symphony Orchestras, working with conductors such as Solti, Mehta, Haitink, Welser-Moest, Masur, Armin Jordan, Previn, Sir Andrew Davies, Rattle and Philippe Jordan.

She is a Dame Commander of the British Empire and a Bayerische Kammersängerin, and has also been awarded the titles Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur. She received the Wigmore Hall Medal marking her significant contribution to the hall in 2010, and most recently, she has been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 International Classical Music Awards.

Natalie Murray Beale

Natalie Murray Beale

songcomp2019 bio jury nataliemurraybeale benjaminealovegaCreative director of Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells, Natalie Murray Beale was a BBC Performing Arts Fellow #32onestowatch in 2015 and was selected in the same year by the Dallas Opera for their inaugural institute for Women Conductors.

As a guest conductor, she has performed with the Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa, Malta Philharmonic, City of London Sinfonia and the London Symphony Chorus. Also experienced in the pit, opera credits have included performances with the Royal Opera House, Mumbai, Croatian National Theatre Zagreb, Theater Bonn, the Royal College of Music, contemporary opera group Tête à Tête, Opera Holland Park and Spitalfields Festival.

Highlights of her 2018/2019 season include her Barbican Hall debut with the Britten Sinfonia as well as debuts with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Opera Queensland and the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. She also tours to Colombia with the Philharmonia.

Murray Beale trained as a pianist and, after working with Welsh National Opera and Glyndebourne as a coach and repetiteur, she became Guest Director of the London Symphony Chorus where she collaborated with Valery Gergiev, Xian Zhang, Marin Alsop, Daniele Gatti and Sir Colin Davis on a wide range of concerts at the Barbican, Salle Pleyel, Royal Festival Hall and Royal Albert Hall.

After studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Murray Beale continued her training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio, London. Her initial conducting training was with the Finnish conductor and pedagogue, Jorma Panula.

Thomas Quasthoff

Thomas Quasthoff

songcomp2019 bio jury thomasquasthoff berndbrundertFor almost four decades, Thomas Quasthoff set the standard on international stages before ending his outstanding singing career in 2012. He retains close ties to music as a teacher at the Hanns Eisler Music Academy in Berlin, in masterclasses, as a concert narrator, and in readings. He has appeared with the world’s leading orchestras under conductors such as Abbado, Barenboim, Haitink, Eschenbach, Jansons, Muti, and Rattle, as well as in opera. His operatic debut in the role of Don Fernando (Fidelio) at the Salzburg Easter Festival was highly acclaimed as well as his remarkable début at the Vienna State Opera as Amfortas/PARSIFAL. Thomas Quasthoff has held many residencies including at Vienna’s Musikverein, Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall, and Wigmore Hall. His recordings have received numerous awards, including three Grammys. Having dedicated himself to Lied for many years, he founded the “Das Lied” International Song Competition in 2009.

Thomas Quasthoff has been awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the European Culture Prize for Music, the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society, the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize of the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Wigmore Hall Gold Medal, and was conferred the title of Österreichischer Kammersänger.

Richard Stokes

Richard Stokes

songcomp2019 bio jury richardstokesRichard Stokes, Professor of Lieder at the Royal Academy of Music, has given many lectures and masterclasses on Lieder and art song in the UK and abroad, and is a regular juror at international Song Competitions.  For the operatic stage he has translated Wozzeck and La voix humaine (Opera North), and Parsifal, Lulu, L’Amour de loin and Jakob Lenz (ENO). His books include The Spanish Song Companion (with Jacqueline Cockburn), J.S. Bach – The Complete Cantatas (Scarecrow Press), A French Song Companion (with Graham Johnson) (OUP) and The Book of Lieder (Faber). 

With Alfred Brendel he collaborated on the latter’s Collected Poems: Playing the Human Game (Phaidon). His translations of Kafka’s Metamorphosis and The Trial have been published by Hesperus Press, and Alma Books published his translation (with Hannah Stokes) of Kafka’s Letter to his Father.  Penguin Classics published The Penguin Book of English Song – Seven Centuries of Poetry from Chaucer to Auden in the Spring of 2016, and Alma Classics have recently released his translation of Jules Renard’s complete Histoires Naturelles in a dual-language edition (2017). Richard Stokes was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2012.

Ailish Tynan

Ailish Tynan

Born in Ireland, Ailish Tynan received the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize in 2003, was a Young Artist for the Royal Opera House and a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist. Her operatic engagements have included Podtotshina’s Daughter in The Nose for the Royal Opera House, Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel for the Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera, Tigrane in Radamisto for English National Opera, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte for Teatro alla Scala Milan, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier for Royal Swedish Opera, Héro in Béatrice et Bénédict for Houston Grand Opera and Vixen in The Cunning Little Vixen for Grange Park Opera.

A prolific recording artist, her releases include Fauré Melodies for the Opus Arte label and Nacht und Träume for Delphian, both with pianist Iain Burnside. Season highlights include a US and European tour with The English Concert, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Marc Albrecht, and Britten’s War Requiem with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

Ailish Tynan appears by arrangement with Steven Swales Artist Management


Specific enquiries should be directed by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to the General Manager, Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera International Song Competition


The Preliminary Round, the Semi-Finals and Final will be held at Wigmore Hall.